(written Thursday, September 22, in the village)
I am undoubtedly one of the most blessed women on the face of the earth. Why would God be so good to little old Paulette Lynn Cross? Some people strive for and settle for “the American dream,” never realizing that there is so much more. They are missing out on the dreams of God. Personal dreams, cultural dreams, and economic dreams all fade when compared to the bright, glowing realities of what God wants to do in this world and in our lives. He has dreams and plans for you that are much better than anything you could ever dream up.
For example, this morning, walking down the jungle trail just after 6 AM, following the Neno couple who would show me how to plant manioc root, I was hit with a dose of reality. I, a Lewis County native (think cows and corn and snow), am now a resident of the Amazon rainforest! Here we are surrounded by fresh, unpolluted air, with monkeys, parrots, macaws, and exotic butterflies as neighbors. The fish in our river would definitely hold their own in a worldwide competition for both size and deliciousness. And I get to live here? Working alongside an amazing missionary family who loves God and considers me their honorary sister and aunt? Forming friendships with people who have welcomed me warmly, patiently teach me their language, and are hungry for the Word of God? What a life! It seems too good to be true! Yet the hike at break of dawn was so vivid and beautiful that it couldn’t be the result of an overactive imagination. I really am here, right in the center of God’s will, living out His plan.
I love this people. I love this place. I love this life. But more than anything, I love the amazing God who brought me here. This God, the Creator of heaven and earth, of jungles and rivers and all people everywhere, is my Father and Friend. He is everything I ever wanted, supplies all that I could ever need, and gives me incredible blessings I never thought to request.
Psalm 16:6, 11 “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage…Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Take a couple minutes to read all of Psalm 16.
Has it ever crossed your mind that serving and obeying God in a sold-out, radical, wholehearted manner is a sacrifice? Have you felt pity for Christians in general or for missionaries or those who in some way seem to get the short end of the stick because they obey God? Please think again. There are challenges in this lifestyle, for sure. But if you were to do a cost-benefit analysis, those who serve God come out on top every single time. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Romans 8:37 We who follow Jesus wherever He leads are the most blessed, happy, thriving people on earth.
If you are already living this life, you know exactly what I am talking about. If not, won’t you come along? It doesn’t necessarily mean you will end up hiking jungle trails, learning a tonal language, and eating grubs. But it does mean you will set out on your own extraordinary adventures with God, living through His exceptional power, and delighting in His extreme grace poured out on you and those around you. Life will be more intense yet more wonderful than you ever dreamed, as you realize that living for Jesus and His kingdom is far better and more fulfilling than anything you live for presently.